Sam Charles

Communications Manager

School of Engineering
Office: EME3251
Phone: 250.807.8136


Sam started at the Okanagan campus of the University of British in 2013 as a Senior Media Production Specialist with UBC Studios Okanagan.  After four years in that role, he transitioned into the Communications Manager role with the School of Engineering.

At the School of Engineering, he is responsible for developing strategic communication materials that highlight the innovative research and experiential learning on the Okanagan campus.  Sam is energized by telling the endlessly inspiring stories of the School’s researchers, students and staff.

With over twenty years of experience in communications, film, television and radio production, Sam is a seasoned professional communicator focused on generating dynamic and engaging content.

Sam has represented Canada three-times at Summer World University Games as Team Canada’s videographer documenting the Games for international audiences.  On Friday nights during the varsity season, he is the play-by-play voice (and technical advisor) for UBC Okanagan Heat basketball and volleyball webcasts on


Integrated strategic communications including social media; Develop, design, and maintain communications content; Media relations; Issues Management; Develop and prepare faculty awards nominations


Shaylene Dekock-Kruger (BASc ’20, Electrical) is an Electrical Designer at BC Hydro.

Describe your journey into engineering.

Before wanting to become an engineer, I actually wanted to become a doctor so that I could bring health care into my indigenous community. However, after my first year of university in UBC Okanagan’s Science program, I started learning about engineering and I was gravitating towards wanting to learn more about mathematics, physics and technology. The following year I began my first year of engineering and in my second year of engineering I decided to specialize in electrical engineering because I loved learning about circuit theory. I thought electricity was the best to study because it’s not necessarily something you can see, but it’s there and it’s what powers everything in our lives today.

What inspired you to go into engineering?

I went into engineering for three main reasons. The first reason being because I wanted a career where I could challenge my mind and apply my math, science and physics knowledge. The second reason being because I wanted to work with technology and/or the energy sector. The third reason being because it is a good job and it provides you with financial security.

Why did you choose UBC Okanagan?

I chose UBC Okanagan because I grew up in Penticton, BC and wanted to be far enough away that it justified moving out for the first time but close enough that I could visit my family and friends without any hassle. I am so happy I chose UBC Okanagan because it had the perfect campus size

Favourite courses(s)/ instructor(s) during your time at UBC Okanagan?

I had many favourite courses and instructors at UBC Okanagan. Some of my favourite instructors include Dr. Holzman, Dr. Najjaran, Dr. Wang and Dr. Metcalfe just to name a few. I really enjoyed how passionate each instructor was and how they were able to integrate their research into the courses to show how the courses we were learning about were applied in real world applications.

Describe how you found your current role.

I  found my current role in somewhat of a unique way. In my last two years of university I received scholarships from BC Hydro. When I was going into my final year of university,  I decided to reach out to BC Hydro and see if I could do my UBC Engineering Capstone Project in collaboration with them. After working with one of the principal engineers from the company on my UBC Engineering Capstone Project and learning more about the company – I decided to put my application into BC Hydro for their Engineer-in-Training program. Not long after I submitted my application, I was invited to a few rounds of interviews and eventually landed my role in my home department, which is substation design.

How did your education at UBC Okanagan prepare you for this role?

My education at UBC Okanagan taught me how to think critically and problem solve. My biggest teaching was learning how to be given a project or problem (that might seem intimidating at first) and breaking it up into smaller solvable components and then putting those components together in the end to create a solution. I apply this in my current job every day.

What is the best advice you’d received to this point?  What advice do you have for aspiring engineers?

The best advice that I have received at this point would probably have to be ‘there is no better time than right now to get things done.’ I like this advice because it motivates me to create a checklist of tasks that I need to do in the present so I can enjoy my free time in the future without thinking of a list of tasks that should have been completed.

My advice for aspiring engineers is to take the necessary pre-requisite courses they need to get into an accredited engineering program. As well, do lots of research about the type of engineering they want to specialize in. There are lots of great online resources to learn about the different types of engineering and the type of industry that they could be working in.

What does the future hold for you?

As of right now, career-wise I plan to continue working as an electrical designer in BC Hydro’s substations and working towards obtaining my professional engineering designation by the end of 2020. In terms of extracurricular involvement, I will continue to be involved in supporting and leading indigenous STEM outreach initiatives.


Shaylene appeared on the Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science and Technology (WWEST) Podcast Episode 79: iSTAND Indigenizing STEM Education.  Click here to listen to the episode.  She was also profiled in a June 2019 Vancouver Sun article.

Dr. Rehan Sadiq’s appointment as Executive Associate Dean of the School of Engineering has been extended by five years effective July 1, 2020.  The announcement was jointly made this week by Ananya Mukherjee Reed, UBC Okanagan Provost and Vice President, Academic, and James Olson, Dean, Faculty of Applied Science.

Dr. Sadiq is a Professor in the School of Engineering at UBC Okanagan and was appointed Associate Dean of the School of Engineering on September 1, 2015.

In recognition of Dr. Sadiq’s role as Acting Dean in the absence of the Dean of Applied Science and his broader role and responsibility within the UBC Okanagan environment, his appointment was changed to Executive Associate Dean in April 2019. In this role, Dr. Sadiq has made significant contributions to the School and to the UBC Okanagan campus. His exceptional leadership, dedication and tireless efforts to ensure the success of the School has earned him the respect and trust of faculty, staff and students.




The School of Engineering is pleased to announce that Dr.Sumi Siddiqua has been appointed as  Associate Director, Graduate Studies commencing July 1, 2020.

“We wish to thank Dr. Klukas for his contributions in this role,” says School Director Mina Hoorfar, “and we look forward to the continued success of our graduate students under Dr. Siddiqua’s leadership.”

Dr. Sdidiqua is an associate professor of Civil Engineering who leads the CFI-funded Advanced Geomaterials Testing Lab.  She and her team investigate innovative solutions for ground-related environmental problems in the areas of nuclear waste repositories, energy pipelines, chemical stabilization of road subgrade materials, soil nano-particles, soil-water chemistry and the reuse of industry by-products.

Siddiqua is familiar with the inner workings of the College of Graduate Studies as she represents the School of Engineering on Graduate Council.

“I’m excited to get started working closely with our graduate students to ensure they continue unencumbered on their academic journeys,” says Siddiqua.

For more information about graduate studies at the School of Engineering, visit and/or




School of Engineering Executive Associate Dean Rehan Sadiq included among the 2020 Fellows elected by Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE) at their 2020 annual general meeting earlier this month. 

Dr. Sadiq, a leading researcher in the field of environmental risk analysis and lifecycle assessment of built environment, was recognized for his “distinguished achievements and career-long service to the engineering profession.”

The CAE pointed to his leadership in establishing the School of Engineering at The University of British Columbia’s Okanagan campus as a leading incubator for high quality engineering education and research.

In making the announcement, CAE President Yves Beauchamp says he expects Dr. Sadiq and the other new Fellows “to expand upon their contributions to the prosperity, well-being and sustainability of Canada and its people.”

A new joint initiative between UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering and Central Okanagan Public Schools’ Kelowna Secondary School (KSS) is providing students in Grades 11 and 12 an opportunity to explore the many disciplines of engineering.

The program launched in January and finished the year online as a result of the pandemic. The course, Engineering 11 led by KSS teacher Jim Strachan, featured 15 UBC Engineering faculty and graduate students visiting the classroom or hosting KSS students to discuss topics in civil, mechanical, electrical and environmental engineering, such as construction materials, building structures, sustainable infrastructure, sensors and radars, Solidworks (computer-assisted design), fluids and thermodynamics, water quality and treatment, microbiome and healthy building, renewable energy systems, mechanical heart valves, engineering ethics, and more.

“We wanted to provide students with a platform to develop a fascination for discovery,” explains Claire Yan, Senior Instructor and Coordinator of the program.  “Whether they end up pursuing a post-secondary engineering degree or not, understanding engineering concepts and disciplines provides a unique lens to see the world.”

Many of the students said they choose Engineering 11 to get a better sense of what engineering, science and math courses would be like in university.  One student said, “I wanted to get beyond the superficial description of engineering we see online and learn about what engineers truly do.”

“The challenge with a course like this is fitting everything in within one term,” says Strachan. “The students left the course wanting even more so we are looking at ways to expand some topics and add new content in the years to come.”

“We are excited about continuing this initiative and welcoming KSS students into our labs and our faculty into their class in the coming years,” says Ahmad Rteil, Assistant Professor and one of the instructors of the program.

In the program’s exit survey, nearly 96% of the students said they plan on studying engineering at a post-secondary institution.



Aliyah Ayorinde is entering her third year in the Electrical Engineering program.  She served as a School of Engineering Ambassador during her second year.

What inspired you to go into engineering?

I’ll be honest, I didn’t really understand what engineering was when I first enrolled! I’m a very creative and artistic person, but a lot of my skill set revolves around math and physics. Engineering is the perfect program for me because it allows me to channel my creativity into finding solutions for real problems, and equips me with the technical knowledge to do so. I also love a great challenge, and am intrigued by how engineers are able to continuously optimize the modern world. Within 10 minutes of my first class, I knew I’d made the right decision.

Why did you choose UBC Okanagan?

The size of the campus was one of the main reasons I decided on UBC Okanagan; I graduated from a relatively small high school and I found that I value small, tight-knit communities such as this one. The campus size has provided a lot of opportunities to get involved as well. Another thing that stuck out to me was the structure of the BASc program. The School of Engineering has a longer foundational period than most other schools in Canada, which very much appealed to me, as it took me a little bit longer to decide on my specialization. In addition, my sister is also an engineering student here, and it’s a blessing to live and study in the beautiful Okanagan!

Favourite courses(s)/instructor(s) during your time at UBC Okanagan?

So far I’ve thoroughly enjoyed Engineering Computation and Instrumentation (APSC 171), Electricity, Magnetism, and Waves(APSC 178)  and System Dynamics (APSC 246).

What does the future hold for you?

The current plan upon graduation is to further my education as much as I can; I’m definitely a life-long learner. I’m hoping to spend some time focusing on my hobbies, dance and visual art, as well.

Over 300 engineering students are among the 1900 students graduating this week from UBC Okanagan.

“Convocation is always a special time for our students and faculty, and this year is no exception,” says Rehan Sadiq, Executive Associate Dean of the School of Engineering.  The methods in recognizing this year’s graduates through ceremonies and award receptions will be a little different this year as all these events will be virtual with UBC following the Public Health Authority guidelines.

The virtual convocation ceremony takes place June 17, 2020 at 3pm with the School’s Awards of Excellence being released across social media channels at 4:30pm (link).  There is a pre-convocation event that starts at 2:30pm.

At this year’s virtual convocation, UBC’s Okanagan campus will confer 246 BASc (71 Civil, 65 Electrical, 110 Mechanical with 13 COSC Minors and 3 MGMT Minors), 25 MEng, 37 MASc, and 17 PhD degrees.

You can review the graduate-level citations at

Every year, the School recognizes student academic and leadership excellence with program and faculty awards.  This year’s award recipients include:

  • Tyler Ho – UBC Head of Class Gold Medal & EGBC Overall Certificate (awarded to the student with the highest Academic Standing)
  • Stormy Howard – EGBC Civil Certificate
  • Abdulwahab Salem Elramli – EGBC Electrical Certificate
  • Joel Hunter – EGBC Mechanical Certificate & the Canadian Society for Mechanical Engineering (CSME) Gold Medal
  • Capstone Group 38 (Applying Machine Vision & AI to Maritime Transportation) team members: Ali Jalil, Ella Lin, Jacky Lin, Larry Staecey and Hung Ting Tsai – Doug and Ruth Pearce Engineering Capstone Prize
  • Holly Denby – Dr. Spiro Yannacopoulos Memorial Award in Engineering Leadership
  • Andrew Pipke – Gordon Springate Sr. Award in Engineering

The School sent all graduates, at the undergraduate and graduate levels, a special token to recognize their accomplishments.  The newest members of AlumniUBC will receive a School of Engineering scarf in the coming days and weeks.









Building community is something that drives 2020 Dr. Gordon Springate Sr. Award in Engineering recipient Andrew Pipke.

In fact, there are few students who embrace the concept of connecting with their community like Pipke.  The civil engineering graduate has a long list of affiliations and accomplishments during his tenure on the Okanagan campus of the University of British Columbia.  Pipke served on the UBC Senate representing the UBC Okanagan student body, as a member of the School of Engineering’s Professional Activities Fund Selection Committee, as Vice-President of UBC Okanagan’s Chapter of Engineers Without Borders and as a student representation on the School of Engineering’s Engineering Society.

During my time at UBCO, I have learned that with all experience comes learning moments. 

Former Engineers Without Borders UBC Okanagan chapter President Jennifer Hostland says Pipke, who served as the Chapter’s Vice President Internal, inspires her to this day through his passion for helping others and raising awareness throughout his community.  “Andrew leaves? this campus better than when he arrived,” says Kristen Morgan, chair of the Student Senate Caucus for the UBC Senate of the Okanagan, who worked alongside Pipke on the UBC Senate.

Failure allows us to learn quickest, so it is best to challenge, make mistakes, and try again until we become the best learners that we can be.

Giving back and building strong communities have been the foundation of Pipke’s time at the School of Engineering.  While at the School, Pipke was an advocate and a mentor to fellow students through initiatives such as EGBC Student Industry Nights, Canadian Urban Transit Association Young Leader Summit, SOE Student Ambassador Program, UBC’s Student Leadership Conference, UBC Okanagan Create Leadership Team, Kelowna Business Development Network, and the Okanagan Regional Library.

The Dr. Gordon Springate Sr. Award in Engineering is annually bestowed on a student completing their Bachelor of Applied Science degree in the School of Engineering who has demonstrated a material contribution to their community outside of their program.

Tyler Ho (BASc ’20, Electrical) was selected as the School of Engineering’s Head of the Class for 2020.  The Head of Class medal is given to the graduating student with the highest average among a set of 3rd and 4th year courses.

What inspired you to go into engineering?

As a kid, I always enjoyed math and science and then in high school, I took several AP physics classes. These classes showed me firsthand how math and science could be applied to real world problems. Engineering seemed to provide the best platform for me to use my skills to help make the world a better place.

Why did you choose UBC Okanagan?

While I am from the US, the rest of my extended family resides in British Columbia. After high school, I was looking for a change of scenery and my frequent family visits to BC had made me fall in love with the beauty of western Canada. So, I decided to apply to UBC. I was originally hoping to get accepted to the Vancouver campus but, as luck would have it, I ended up at the Okanagan campus. It was honestly better than anything I could have asked for. My time at UBC Okanagan has been filled with so many wonderful experiences and opportunities I would not have had anywhere else. The staff and faculty are amazing within the School of Engineering, and the engineering community as a whole is wonderful.

What was the secret to your success?

Community. I know that my success at University can be attributed to the people who surrounded me. This includes my family, friends, Church community, teammates, and coworkers. These people celebrated with me in the good times but also stuck with me during the hard times. They constantly pushed me to be a better student, Christian and man. Really nothing I have accomplished would have been possible without their support through it all.

Favourite courses(s)/ instructor(s) during your time at UBC Okanagan?

I really loved my time at UBC Okanagan and there were many courses that helped me grow as a student. Going into my second year I was still on the fence between focusing on a mechanical or electrical engineering degree. It took about two lectures of Dr. Ayman Elnaggar’s Digital Logic Design course to realize that electrical engineering was the path for me. All his courses were fantastic and helped to spark my interest in computer programming and hardware. However, my favourite course at UBC Okanagan was Dr. Kenneth Chau’s Advanced Electromagnetism course. The delivery of the class was a stark difference from the normal lecture style and the content constantly pushed me to learn more. It has inspired me to hopefully pursue grad school down the road.

As a volunteer tutor at local schools, why is that important to you?

I have always believed that giving back is part of my responsibility to my community. I feel that it is important to use the skills you have been given to do good for those around you and leave the biggest possible impact wherever you can. Since first year, I have volunteered with the children’s ministry at Willow Park Church and a local school (tutoring math and coding). My goal to make every child feel loved, valued, and important. I hope to serve as a role model to these kids and help them grow to become wonderful young people.

I also began tutoring students on my floor when I worked as a Residence Advisor. This aligns with my goal of trying to have the biggest positive impact on the world. If I can help future engineers better understand the skills they are learning, then hopefully they can use those skills to get a degree and help change the world in the future.

I feel extremely privileged to be in the position I am in, and I hope that I can continue to give back to those around me throughout my career.

What does the future hold for you?

I am currently working as an EIT at Primary Engineering here in Kelowna. I love everyone I work with and I am excited to learn the ropes as a working professional. I hope down the line I can pursue further studies, however, as of now I’m undecided on which field.

Eduardo Matos Sequeira (BASc, Civil ’20) begins his Masters in Civil Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Zheng Liu beginning in September 2020.

What inspired you to go into engineering?

When I was a kid, I remember looking at virtually anything and wondering about what was going on beneath the surface. Books with cross-sections of planes, vehicles, building designs, and the various levels of a city were those that caught my attention the most, of course at that age, it was all alien and gibberish to me. I enjoyed watching shows about how things were made, and as I grew older, my curiosity heightened. My parents and teachers told me about engineering and what it entailed, and now finally, I had a word that encompassed my interests.

How did you discover UBC Okanagan?

When I was in Grade 9, I remember that my favourite teacher showed my class a video of UBC. It was a lip dub showing the students and was filmed all over the Vancouver campus. I remember thinking that what I had just witnessed was awesome and thought that I would love it if my university, one day, would be that cool. From that moment, I wanted to go to and be a UBC student. When doing my research and applying to universities, I discovered UBC Okanagan, and after seeing that it was smaller, quieter, and in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, I was sold.

Why did you ultimately choose to attend UBC Okanagan?

It wasn’t a tough decision for me. When my acceptance to UBC Okanagan came, my dreams for university had been realized. I knew since Grade 9 that I have wanted to attend UBC, and specifically UBC Okanagan, I had the opportunity to not only be a part of the UBC family and study applied science, but also be able to call one of the most beautiful places I had ever seen home for the foreseeable future.

What was the transition like starting at the School of Engineering as an international student?

It was quite tough at the beginning, as transitioning to university was quite a leap from the workload and stress that I had been accustomed to in high school. Above all, it was difficulty being away from my family. Until then, I had never lived on my own or truly been on my own, let alone in a new foreign country. Luckily, I was a part of the Jumpstart program, where I made friends with other international students who were all in the same boat as me – these are friends that I have and speak with to this day.

How many years did you take to complete your undergrad?

I completed my undergrad in five years as I opted to take my degree with the five-year plan. Very early on in my first semester of first year, an engineering academic advisor told us about the five-year plan, which was to take five courses per semester as opposed to six, and then take four per semester in the final (fifth) year. It extends the program by a year, but the trade-off was a reduced workload. It is something I recommend all new engineering students consider – this was a decision I do not regret making.

Favourite courses(s)/instructor(s) during your time at UBC Okanagan?

My favourite courses during my time as an undergrad at UBC Okanagan were in the later years of the program. Courses like Pipeline Integrity Management (ENGR 417), Infrastructure Management (ENGR 331), Design of Water and Wastewater Conveyance Systems (ENGR 445), and Multicriteria Optimization and Design of Experiments (ENGR 489) were amongst my favourites. One of my favourite instructors would have to be my supervisor, Dr. Zheng Liu, who captivated and piqued my interest in pipelines, their systems, and management. Ultimately, he inspired me and instilled the desire to pursue a Master’s degree with his guidance.

Did you do research as an undergraduate? If so, how did you discover research opportunities?

I did research with Dr. Solomon Tesfamariam in the summer of 2019, where I did work on projects related to pipelines and roadway and sewer infrastructure. This opportunity arose after I asked Dr. Tesfamariam if he had any research opportunities over the summer and he offered me the position as a research assistant.

Why did you choose to undertake graduate studies?

It was after taking the Pipeline Integrity Management course that I decided that I was open to pursuing graduate studies. I had a different drive when it came to this area, something drew me to it more, and I truly wanted to excel and put in the very best I had to offer because it meant something more to me. I thought: What if I pursued this area further? With this in mind, I approached Dr. Liu, and asked if he accepting graduate students. We spoke about this in depth, and a year later, I was submitting my application to do a Master’s degree with him supervising.

Describe the research you’ll be doing?

The research will be in the area of pipeline integrity and predictive maintenance for pipelines. Principally, I want to focus on stepping away from preventative maintenance systems used today, and move towards a smarter, predictive maintenance system. By using past and present data in models, and projecting corrosion hotspots and developing faults over the entire pipeline network, one might be able to identify where failures are more prone to occur. The dream is to have a future where we will be able to predict, locate, and stop potential incidents in their infancy, or from ever occurring.

Why is your research important?

Ultimately, the research that will be done may help contribute to a future where pipelines are safer.  The companies that oversee and manage pipelines will be able to carry out the task of maintaining and ensuring the public’s and worker’s safety more efficiently, and more effectively.

What impact has Kelowna and the Okanagan valley had on you?

I’ve lived in Kelowna for the last five years and this place has spoiled me. It is such a stark difference from where I was born and have lived my entire life, Macau, to the point where you might as well be looking at it as two entirely different worlds. I have fallen in love with the Okanagan Valley, as have my parents.  One day, I would like to repay them for everything they have done for me, including push me and support me through my university life by bringing them to Canada where they can settle down and be happy here.

What does the future hold for you?

Now, it is onto a Master’s program, and I will keep an open mind with regards to maybe pursing a PhD should the opportunity arise. Eventually, I aim to begin working in industry, hopefully with pipelines, and eventually become a professional engineer.  I also hope to, one day, become a Canadian citizen and settle down.